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Corruption Chronicles

Elected Official Pays $25k To Be In “Who’s Who In Black Los Angeles”

A prominent elected official already chastised for trying to spend more than half a million taxpayer dollars to renovate his office is in trouble again for spending $25,000 to secure a spot in a friend’s publication about notable black leaders.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas serves a financially struggling area with an unemployment rate that ranks among the nation’s highest, yet he used public resources to promote his ego with a color spread in a book called “Who’s Who in Black Los Angeles.”

Promoted as a “tremendous tool for both networking and educating,” the 344-page publication costs $34.95 and features more than 400 members of southern California’s influential and affluent African American community, referred to as “some of the most tremendous assets the City of Angels has to offer.”

A former Los Angeles City Councilman, Ridley-Thomas said he bought space in the book to tell the history of the African American experience in Los Angeles. Many in the area’s African American community don’t know that there are black people in leadership positions in the county of about 10 million, the supervisor laughably asserts in a local news report.

The money to promote Ridley-Thomas’s version of the African American experience went to a longtime friend (Anthony Samad) who did time for fraud and has donated money to the supervisor’s political campaigns. Ridley-Thomas also gave his good buddy a $25,000 city “consulting contract” while he was an L.A. City Councilman for expertise “not otherwise available.”

It was just a few months go that Ridley-Thomas came under fire for proposing to spend a whopping $707,000 to renovate his county office amid a dire budget crisis that has forced drastic job cuts, unprecedented reductions in public services and a widespread hiring freeze.

When public outrage ensued over the exorbitant remodeling tab, Ridley-Thomas lashed out, assuring that he fights for his constituents and “decent standards for persons to work in.” However, local news reports revealed that his office was no different than the county’s other supervisors and that the renovations would cost 13 times more than all four of his colleagues have spent on their offices in the last few years.

 


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